Today I am so pleased to welcome Jeff Adams back to Joyfully Jay. Jeff has come to talk to us about his latest release, Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp. He has also brought along an exclusive excerpt and a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Jeff a big welcome!
Very thankful that Jay has allowed me to stop over today to talk about the latest in the Hat Trick series, a short called Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp. I hope everyone takes a moment to leave a comment. I’ll stop by during the next couple days to answer any questions. Plus, one lucky commenter will get a free ebook: you’ll have the choice of either Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp or, in case you’re new to Hat Trick, you can opt to receive the original Hat Trick novel to start at the beginning.
Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp continues to explore main character Simon’s desire to work with young people, both to help them with issues they may be having and avoid the issues Simon had as a teen (without spoiling the original book for those who haven’t read it, let’s just say his coming out was not a smooth one). In Hat Trick 2, Simon had already changed his major to social work and started a work study program at the Ann Arbor LGBT community center.
We see more of his work in Summer Camp because Simon and Alex spend a month of their summer break from University of Michigan coaching at a hockey camp. They have a cabin full of teenage hockey players who all want to become better at the game over the course of the month. There’s five other cabins too, so there’s some good natured competition along the way as they vie to become camp champions.
One of the campers Simon works with a lot is a sixteen year old named Dylan, who comes to camp feeling the pressure to improve his game enough so he can snag a scholarship when it’s time for college. It was fun to write Simon in this context because he’s applying his skills with youth to help them grow as a hockey player and as a young adult, but not in the same way as he might working at his work study job. I think it’s a wonderful glimpse at the man Simon’s growing up to be.
Dylan was also an intriguing character to write because there’s a lot going on in his head, and a lot that he’s trying to take on in his young life. As the story unfolds more and more is revealed it’s a reminder of the kinds of things kids deal with today, perhaps more so than they did a generation or two ago.
Beyond working with Dylan and the other campers, Simon and Alex get to take a nice vacation from their regular routine and Leo, one of their best friends, gets to come along for the ride, too. Another of my favorite scenes in the story has Simon throwing Alex a sweet, intimate surprise birthday celebration. With much of the country going through the chills of winter, you should find it the perfect time to read this summertime story.
The excerpt I’ve chosen is a quick scene showing Simon chatting with Dylan. Everyone in the cabin has returned from some time at the camp’s lake, which featured a heated game of extreme Frisbee. Here Dylan is waiting for Simon to return to the cabin because he wants to make sure he hasn’t crossed a line.
Meanwhile, just a quick plug that there’s still more to come as Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot will come out this summer.
Dylan was on the porch bench, waiting for me. I put all my counselor skills to work, setting my issues aside so I could focus on him. He sat, cross legged, on the bench only wearing only his sleep pants. He stopped reading on his phone as I approached.
“Hey, Dylan, you didn’t have to wait out here, I would’ve gotten you.”
“No worries,” he said, putting his phone down next to him. “It’s a nice night, and I wanted to talk to you away from the other guys.”
“Okay. What’s on your mind?” I threw my towel over the porch railing and spun one of the other benches around so I could face him while we talked.
“Was it okay what I said while we were playing Frisbee?”
I thought back. Nothing that happened at the lake stuck in my head as an issue. “Which part?” I finally had to ask.
“Well, I guess I mean what all of us said. Giving you a hard time about staring at Alex and missing the catch.”
I laughed. “That? You guys were completely right to call me out.”
He looked relieved. “Good, I wasn’t sure. I mean you’re our coach and all. And I didn’t want you to think we were calling you out cause your gay or anything, especially since I mentioned my girlfriend.”
“Nope,” I said, placing a hand on his shoulder to further assure him. “I got what I deserved. If any one had said something inappropriate, I would’ve called it out on the spot. It was all in good fun, and, frankly, wasn’t off the mark either. I’ll let you in on a not so well kept secret: I stare at him way too often. Getting called out on it no longer surprises me. Our teammates back home can be much more relentless.”
Dylan smiled and nodded. “Cool.”
He unfolded from his position, but I spoke before he fully stood up. “Can I ask you something, now?”
He shrugged. “Sure.” He didn’t sit on his legs again, but he leaned back against the wall.
“How are you feeling about your game?”
“Better,” he said. “I made some stupid plays today, some passes that really sucked. But I made some good plays too.”
“I’d say that’s pretty accurate. But it’s not quite what I asked. How are you feeling? How in your head are you about this.”
“It’s still frustrating, but I’m trying to do what you said and not let it bother me. I can see, especially since we talked, that my game has improved the past couple weeks.”
“Good. I’m glad you’re working on the head part. I see you talking to yourself on the bench a lot now and I wanted to make sure you weren’t just beating yourself up quietly.”
“So you’re spying on me now?” He asked with a hint of sarcasm and a smirk for good measure.
“We’re spying on all of you. We have to so we send you all back as better players.”
“I’d say you’re doing a good job of it.”
“Get him!” came a shout from inside.
“I’ll take all of you!” Alex yelled back followed by some sort of a wail.
Dylan and I shot questioning looks at each other as there were more grunts and shouts coming from inside.
“What the hell?” I asked as I stood up.
Dylan followed close behind me as I went into the cabin.
Simon and Alex, now between their junior and senior years at The University of Michigan, decide to put their jobs on hold for a month and take the opportunity to coach hockey at a summer camp for teenagers.
They’ve got a cabin full of good players to work with and the focus is to get them ready to win the camp championship. One camper, sixteen-year-old Dylan, requests extra help because he needs to get a scholarship and the guys make it their mission to help him succeed.
With their best friend Leo along for the trip, Simon and Alex are setup for a great time at camp, until another coach tries to seduce them. How they respond to the unwanted advances, while balancing commitments to their campers, will test them both.
Jeff Adams caught the writing bug in middle school and finally became a novelist with the Hat Trick series. He’s currently working on the final novel in the series, Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot, which is due out this summer. He’s also written a number of m/m romance shorts, including the recent re-release of Rivals. Jeff and his husband, Will, live in the peaceful, coastal beauty of Humboldt County, California. He also covers the Detroit Red Wings, as well reviews books that feature LGBT hockey players, for PuckBuddys.com. To learn more about Jeff, visit jeffadamswrites.com and follow him on Twitter at @hockeyguynyc. You can also sign up to receive email updates from Jeff (no more than two per month) at http://eepurl.com/7TJC9.
Find Jeff at:
- Website: http://www.jeffadamswrites.com
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/hockeyguynyc
- Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/jeffadams
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/writerjeff
Jeff has brought a copy of either Hat Trick Overtime: Summer Camp or the original Hat Trick to give away to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment at the end of the post to enter. The contest ends on Sunday, January 25th at 11:59 pm EST.
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